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Man Sitting Alone in Car Stormed by Police; Dies in Custody

Following a confrontation with several police officers, 41-year-old Raymond Johnson died in custody last week.

via Press-Enterprisevia Press-EnterpriseThe problem started around 6 p.m. Friday in the drive-thru exit at a Burger King in Moreno Valley, California. According to a restaurant employee (who said she wished to remain anonymous for fear of police retaliation), Johnson sat immobile in his car outside the window after purchasing a milkshake.

The employee described his eyes as “glassy, like he was under the influence or mentally ill” and his overall appearance as nervous-looking: “Not that he was going to do anything to us, but that he knew he was supposed to move but his body and mind weren’t working right.”

After a few moments of flailing and exasperatedly trying to get the vehicle into gear, several Burger King employees helped Johnson push his car into the parking lot. Johnson then stepped outside and sat silently on a curb resting his head. Shortly after he climbed back into his car, police arrived.

KABC-TV Los Angeles reports:

Police say they were called to the scene for a man who appeared to be in an agitated state…According to investigators he refused to get out of his vehicle.

This is where cell phone video footage begins. Shot from a distance by a witness, it starts with an officer reaching into Johnson's car and striking him with what looks like a baton. Moments later, 5 to 6 officers surround the vehicle. One officer climbs on the hood and repeatedly kicks into the passenger seat while a witness asks "Are they stomping on his head?"

Authorities say Johnson stopped breathing after he was taken into custody and was pronounced dead an hour later. A coroner's report released last night found that Johnson suffered from an oversized heart, and that while he had sustained abrasions from the struggle, none of the injuries were life-threatening. 

Johnson's widow, Lawanda, expressed her frustration and confusion:

My biggest question is what happened? What led up to that, what makes you do that? He's one person; there's many of you...I just need answers.

On Tuesday, October 15, a local NAACP chapter pressed the Riverside County sheriff's department for more information on the incident, including whether any of the deputies had been placed on leave. Chief Deputy Knudson responded with a statement outlining the incident, which stated that the officers used pepper spray, a Taser, a baton, and kicking in an attempt to subdue him. 

A report also revealed that Johnson was not armed and none of the officers received serious injuries. One expert in police procedures — a retired senior supervisor with the LAPD — said the officers should have evaluated Johnson to see if he needed medical attention before resorting to force. 

Johnson, who worked as a plumber, had had run-ins with police and served time for drugs, but never for violent crimes. He is survived by his wife, mother, four children, and a grandson.

Watch the video below:

Photo Credit: via PE blog

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  • Almanian!||

    Jesus fucking Christ! Thanks for ruining my day, Radley Jess Riverside County Sheriffs. FUCK

  • sloopyinca||

    That BK is less than 3 miles from my house. The PD is closing ranks around the officers on this one. I've asked a few cops I know what is going on and they won't even talk about it...and they're usually pretty open talking about their ability to use force at their leisure.

    Supposedly, there's dashcam video that the PD are "trying to retrieve" but there have been some unforeseen problems with the recording system. The local NAACP isn't buying the excuses and will be calling for heads to roll in the next few days if it's not released. And this area has a pretty large black population, so that will get some traction.

    This will end with prosecutions or with some serious blowback. Mark my words.

  • playa manhattan||

    Wow. The dash cams on all 6 police cars failed at the same time?

  • sloopyinca||

    Their claim has been that the amount of dashcam data is difficult to filter through and retrieve right away (which is total bullshit). There's also the matter of vantage point...meaning they need to be sure the two cars with the best vantage point, the one perpendicular to the victim's and the one directly to the rear, have their dashcam videos malfunction while the ones that are parked away and cannot provide any real evidence have theirs work perfectly.

    The coverup is already going on, but I really don't think it's gonna fly here. The guy was unarmed, was not disturbing anybody and was not actively resisting the officers. The locals are already raising hell and demanding answers.

  • CE||

    Hey, if a guy is sitting there doing nothing, clearly police procedure calls for beating him with a baton and kicking him until he dies.

  • fish_remote||

    What would Thursdays be like without your RDA of Nut Punch!

  • Dweebston||

    The RDA for Nut Punch is 150mg. This story packs 5g of Nut Punch.

  • Andrew S.||

    Reading Reason on a regular basis will cause you to ingest far more nut punch than is considered safe by doctors. Reason needs a disclaimer that they hold no accountability for injuries that may be suffered as a result.

  • Dweebston||

    The imagery of ingesting nut punch is a little much for my precaffeinated mind.

  • datcv||

    Sexists! What is the RDA of cunt punts?

  • John||

    Is it just me or do these cases seem to happen in California at a really alarming rate? They happen everywhere and California is the most populous state. So that accounts for some of it. But it seems like at least half of the daily Reason nut punches come out of California. Are the cops in California just that much worse?

  • sarcasmic||

    How can half of these come from California when three fourths come from Florida? Or are you doing government math?

  • John||

    Do that many come from Florida? Maybe I just notice the ones for California more.

  • sarcasmic||

    Most of them seem to be from Florida.

  • playa manhattan||

    Each state has its own flavor. The contagious fire and panic shooting in large crowds seems to be a New York thing.

  • sarcasmic||

    I'm talking specifically about Reason nut-punches.

  • Surly Chef||

    One of Reason's offices is in LA.

  • tarran||

    No there are regional flavors.

    Notice how the really stupid zero tolerance shit involving schools comes from MA about 10% of the time?

  • Copernicus||

    As I read this, I couldn't help but flash back on our procedures (firefighters) to extract an injured person from a car.

    Step 1: Open the car door.

    Standing on the hood and kicking into a window was at least Plan C or D.

  • amelia||

    I live in SoCal, and yes, I think a disproportionate number of these stories come from this area. From women shoved to the pavement on their hands and knees for texting while driving to homeless men beaten to death for being vulnerable...I am very wary of the cops down here.

    Most of my time living in this state was in the SF area, and I don't recall it being so bad up there. Here's an anecdote - I once called the cops on what I would politely call a crack prostitute who shoved me out the way and forced herself into my apartment building. She had done it once before and broke my neighbor's finger because he tried to stop her and his hand got smashed in the security door. At the time, I happened to be with a friend who is a public defender at the time. Although the woman was out of her mind, struggling with and screaming at the cops, they handled her carefully and my friend commented that she was impressed by their professionalism. It's worth noting she continued to be free to roam and force her way into people's homes but that's what I get for living in the Tenderloin, I guess. The situation would have been worse overall if the cops had brutalized her.

    Florida also seems to be especially fertile ground for police brutality. Sometimes I think "damn, I would never want to live in Florida." Then, I remember where I do live.

  • Stretchy||

    All you need to know about today's police: "who said she wished to remain anonymous for fear of police retaliation"

  • sarcasmic||

    No alt-text for fear of police retaliation.

  • sloopyinca||

    There's at least a 90% chance she's black. I say this because I've been into that Burger King a dozen times and have yet to see a white employee. So of course she's afraid of retaliation. Police out here are notorious for doing shit like this and getting away with it. Why would a witness to their criminal enterprise not have a legitimate fear that the cops would retaliate against them consequence-free? All the more so for a black witness, as they are disproportionately targeted by coppers in MoVal.

  • sarcasmic||

    Who are you going to call when you're attacked by the cops? The cops?

  • KDN||

    If there's any crime that deserves summary execution, it's attempted DUI. Just think of all the children these brave officers saved from this marauding madman.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Of course, it's far too difficult to just take the keys out of the ignition. It's much easier to stomp his head in.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Heads were stomped.

  • Ranter||

    Nothing to see here, folks.

    Move along or be arrested.

  • MasterDarque||

    Clearly minding your own business is now called resisting

  • Andrew S.||

    From one of the linked articles

    Sheriff’s officials said the investigation is still in the preliminary stages. Officer-involved death investigations can often take more than a year to be completed and reviewed by the district attorney’s office.

    So... just long enough for the media and public to stop paying attention, so they can drop it?

    Do non-officer involved death investigations take that long? Do investigations of officer deaths take that long?

  • John||

    Oh yeah, it often takes a year for a DA to act on a typical murder case where the suspect is known and the issue is self defense or accident or such. Totally. They don't slow roll cop investigations or anything. Not at all.

  • ||

    Anyone who suffers from diabetes, epilepsy, or any other medical condition that could put you in a dazed or otherwise nonresponsive state needs to be really, really worried about ever having the cops called. Because we have seen many stories like this where someone who obviously needs medical attention gets beaten to death instead by the pigs.

  • sarcasmic||

    Being in need of medical attention is no excuse! Comply! Comply now!

  • John C. Randolph||

    STOP RESISTING!

  • John||

    You should be. You should also be worried if you have any sort of seizures or sleep walk or really run the risk of ever being incoherent and needing help. It is pretty clear that if you are in any way incoherent or uncooperative, the cops are just going to shoot you. Great country we have these days.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Does Obamacare cover treatment for getting the shit beat out of you by public servants?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Nope...public servant exemption.

  • fish_remote||

    "Platinum Monocle Wearers Only" policy!

  • amelia||

    Notably, the McDonald's employees were sharp enough to realize the man needed help and not a beating.

    On FB, I periodically post stories like these and say something like "Never call the cops on a sick or mentally ill family member." No one ever responds. They think I'm just a little bit nutty myself, I suppose.

  • ||

    If you merely wrote that as your status, I could see why they'd think that, but if you're linking evidence such as this, you should at least get a few likes.

  • amelia||

    My prog friends are hesitant to "like" anything posted from this site (occasionally they do.) My redneck relatives believe in God and country and probably think there's more to the story and the victim had it coming.

  • tarran||

    It's worse.

    In many jurisdictions, since the cops man the 911 system, and have a policy of sending an officer out when EMT's are called, the cops are showing up. Period.

    If you ever have to call 911, it's very important to stress that there is someone needing medical attention. Calling them and saying there is someone that is impaired or not behaving as they should will get you cops that want to assert order on the disorderly person. IF you call and say you need an ambulance for someone who has a medical condition you are far less likely to get the cop-pile on.

  • sloopyinca||

    The Riverside County Sheriff's Office mans the 911 call center that covers Moreno Valley. As far as I know, all calls where an EMT or FD are dispatched, a police officer is also dispatched. It's that way county-wide here and in San Berdoo as well.

    And it's far more likely that a police officer will be on-scene prior to any EMT or FD is because of the sheer numbers of cops and the fact that they're already patrolling their areas of operation, whereas the EMT's and FD's are in their stations.

  • amelia||

    Good advice. It could help reduce the risk.

  • ||

    I can't even make a snarky comment about this. Here's hoping their homes get torched with them trapped inside.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Example number 347,892 of why you shouldn't call the police unless you want something to end up dead.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    your just the bigorati. millions of police calls happen every second and nothing dies. the public love us unequivically and afatfppic this scum bag was refusing alawful order to get beaten and his head was a deadly whepppon that charged the officers. THese heros should face no disciplenary action other than surfing lessons and a new olympic wieght barbell.

    hth

  • ||

    You bigorati assholes! Don't you know that a cop's primary duty is to go home alive and uninjured at the end of their shift?

  • Cliché Bandit||

    damn you KK...if you weren't dead to me I would point out mine was more complete.

  • ||

    Take a lookit this - this is my kind skiing!

  • From the Tundra||

    Did you get your trip booked?

  • ||

    Yep - all set for Utah in February. Even though I'm a New England snob, I am very, very jazzed about this trip. Mainly because I don't have to get myself all tied up in knots as to whether there will be snow or not.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    Uhhh...A-Basin opened last weekend and Loveland and Keystone should be opening this weekend. Unfortunately I go to Copper and that opens later often.

  • ||

    I know - that's what I'm saying. When I go to VT I agonize over whether there will be snow, and I have a knack for picking the week of the Big Thaw. Even if there is a "thaw" in the Rockies, at those altitudes the snow won't be affected that much.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Be prepared to need to relearn to ski. They actually have snow in the west.

  • db||

    Yeah, when I skied Snowbird a few years ago I was like, "what the hell is this soft fluffy stuff?"

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    I used to tune my own skis as a kid, living in the East. I could ski about 3 days before I could notice my edges getting dull. Now I get them tuned every couple of years.

    You really do have to modify the way you ski going from ice to snow and vice versa.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Why are the runs so crowded? Must be a holiday or something.

  • playa manhattan||

    Joking, right?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Kinda.

  • playa manhattan||

    At 3:30 pm on busier days, Park City puts out ski patrol to act as traffic cops and keep the flow going. There really is a rush hour of skiers trying to get down to the base. I've had my ticket clipped a few times for not playing nice in the "Slow Zones".

  • sloopyinca||

    Anybody up for a Reason Big Bear trip this year? I haven't been skiing in close to 20 years but I figure it can't be too hard, right?

  • playa manhattan||

    Make it Mammoth and you got yourself a deal.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    It's fairly common at the place I go here in MT (Showdown) to be the only skier on a given (diamond) run. That's on weekdays and it's not exactly a tourist destination. But it's awesome to have a decent place (1500 vertical w/ legitimate black/double black diamonds) almost to yourself. And it's still old school, big boy program. I don't think I've ever seen the Ski Patrol jacking anyone up.

    Like stepping back in time.

  • playa manhattan||

    We have a place like that in LA called Mt Baldy. Hippyish, deserted, over 50% diamond, and 1950s ski lifts that are really slow. Ski patrol is all volunteer.

    Ski patrol is pretty cool in PC, and every time I've been clipped, I 100% deserved it. After a few lunch beers, I just can't resist going full speed and jumping over the "Slow Zone" signs...

  • ||

    My Pa and I will be skiing during a non-holiday week, post-Sundance, so I don't expect much in the way of crowds.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    *snooooooorrrreee*

    HUH what? Ohh sorry, was dreaming about walking slowing down a gentle slope. Did you say something about skiing?

  • From the Tundra||

    More complete, indeed. Even the fun spelling mistakes, creative spacing and random capitalization. It's almost as if he never went away.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    I did put it some effort to be as accurate as possible.

  • ||

    To Protect and Serve...Themselves.

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    To protect and serve.

    Hey, speaking of heros, has anyone seen Dunphy lately?

  • ||

    Nope. Haven't seen Lyle either. Anyone seen Merkin?

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Yeah, hes been on in the evenings under yet another name.

  • Robert||

    The Wine Commonsewer now stays home at winecommonsewer.com .

  • sloopyinca||

    The last anybody on here heard from dunphy, he was suffering another bout of meningitis (on the taxpayer's dime collecting disability again), and he was rambling even more than normal. My guess is that he may have succumbed (have there been any honor guard funerals with the full complement of pipers and all that shit in Seattle lately?) or that he's competing in Peniche, Portugal surfing in the ASP event this weekend and has just been concentrating on that and his band's European tour, all the while tutoring poor European children in higher math.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    You cannot expect one of our bravest and most noble law enforcement professionals to simply walk alone up to the window of a parked car and ask if the occupant is okay?

    That's madness.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Be prepared to need to relearn to ski.

    You have that backwards. As somebody who learned to ski in the east (upstate NY) and then went off to college in Colorado, no remedial training is necessary when transitioning from eastern to western snow.
    People who never learned to edge properly, on the other hand...

  • Francisco d Anconia||

    Yeah, I never actually carved a turn for my first 15 years. It was a shock to me that I couldn't just point my skis in another direction.

  • Randian filtered me, I WIN!||

    I was recently robbed and beaten outside my condo. Somehow, they did not take my phone, which I used to call 911.

    The police arrived 17 minutes later.

    Now, please don't chastise me. I was not armed. This was at my wife's request.

    That has since changed, completely, also at her request.

    I told her, well in advance of this, that you cannot count on the police.

  • Barry Williams||

    This how citizens are treated in a police state.

    Welcome to the United Police States of Un-America!

  • Jerry Baustian||

    I have long viewed the police as a necessary evil. But more and more, as we read and hear about innocent civilians being attacked and often killed by police for no good reason, it seems that the police are too often just thugs with badges.

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